An Innovative System for Bioremediation of Agricultural Chemicals for Environmental Sustainability

EPA Grant Number: SU833147
Title: An Innovative System for Bioremediation of Agricultural Chemicals for Environmental Sustainability
Investigators: Kalita, P.
Current Investigators: Kalita, P. , Anderson, Stephen M. , Appleford, J. Malia , Byard, Greg J. , Davidson, Paul C. , Goodwin, Greg E. , Haase, David A. , Koch, Daniel J. , Lenkaitis, Andy C. , Mitchell, Jacob , Olsen, Amanda J. , Zwilling, Luke F.
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The technical challenge our team faces is to find an efficient way to reduce chemical leaching from agricultural fields. Our team has chosen a design that requires no maintenance, can be easily installed, and makes use of naturally available biomaterials. This challenge and proposed design relate to sustainability in terms of people by providing a long-term, efficient way of reducing or even eliminating chemicals from drinking water. Our design will provide sustainability in terms of prosperity by reducing the necessary cost of treatment at municipal facilities, and by allowing farmers to take a proactive role in reducing chemical losses from their production facilities. Using this system can prevent farmers from incurring financial penalties for discharging potentially hazardous chemicals into local water supplies. In addition, this design will provide sustainability in terms of the planet by using an all-natural product that is biodegradable and is not known to release any additional contaminants into the environment.

Our experiments will test various biofilter materials on their ability to reduce concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorous, atrazine, and alachlor, and will provide optimal parameters for designing an efficient system for removing chemicals from agricultural leachates. The results will be obtained from water samples collected from soil columns that facilitate chemical leaching, using the percent of concentration reduction, and evaluating the performance by statistical analysis. P3 concepts highlighted through this project will be portrayed to students and the agricultural and environmental communities through presentation of results at Engineering Open House, Explore ACES, Agronomy Field Day, and the Environmental Horizons. In addition, results will be presented at regional and national professional society meetings.

Supplemental Keywords:

Chemicals, biofiltration, conservation, engineering, hydrology, Midwest,, Scientific Discipline, Waste, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Environmental Chemistry, Treatment Technologies, Bioremediation, Environmental Engineering, biodegradation, drinking water, pesticides, biofilter, chemical transport, agricultural chemicals, contaminated groundwater, atrazine

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report